Real Estate in Texas

Real Estate
Although we tend to think of “real estate” as either homes, apartment buildings or condominiums for living, or perhaps a storefront or commercial space for businesses, the term actually also encompasses crops, minerals and water contained on property.

History of Real Estate

For most of human history, people were nomads or semi-nomads, moving around from place to place, and occasionally living in temporary shelters or natural dwellings like caves. After agriculture fell into widespread adoption, humanity began constructing permanent dwellings to live in and from where to conduct commerce. Thus, the idea of real estate was born, the sale, ownership and purchase of property and the buildings and resources found thereon.

It wasn’t until the Industrial Revolution in the Victorian Era of Britain that the concept of real estate as we know it today was created. In a rapid amount of time, vast swathes of the population were moving out of the countryside and into bustling cities like London, Manchester and Liverpool. Factory workers and miners needed homes, and with that came an industry dedicated to selling, renting and trading in commercial and home properties.

As for the term “real estate”, it comes from the original meaning of the word “estate”, which refers to all the property and wealth owned by a person. Although money, livestock and other goods are certainly “real” in the physical sense, the very fact that land is immutable is why it is referred to as “real” estate when legal descriptions of a person’s property are being made. Any property which can be moved (i.e. is “portable”) is the part of the estate not classified as “real” estate.

Whacky Facts About Real Estate

  • The White House real estate was officially tallied to be worth $110 million dollars if it were to be sold on the open market.
  • Houses in Alaska are simultaneously in the northernmost, westernmost and easternmost state in America.
  • There are about 5 times more vacant houses than homeless people in the United States.
  • In 2007, the infamous real estate mogul Leona Helmsley bequeathed $12 million in her will to her dog.
  • Donald Trump, known for his savvy real estate investments, has filed for corporate bankruptcy four times.
  • In 1945, an airplane crashed into the Empire State Building, severing the elevator cable. Amazingly, the woman in the elevator managed to survive her plummet to the bottom.
  • In 2009, as a result of the recession, there were more foreclosures in America than total marriages.
  • In a wildly successful experiment, Utah has been giving free homes to homeless people since 2005.
  • In Scotland, some homeowners paint their front doors red when they’ve finished paying off their mortgages.
  • Even though Warren Buffet is one of the richest men in the world, he still lives in his first house, which cost him just $31,500.
  • Brass is used for doorknobs in many houses because the metal disinfects itself.
  • In 2012, there were 422,000 registered real estate brokers in the United States.
  • Monopoly, the famous board game about real estate, was originally designed to teach players about the risks of capitalism.
  • The richest person in India built his own house at the cost of $1 billion.
  • Believe it or not, in New York state, homeowners are required to disclose to potential sellers if their house is haunted by ghosts or undead spirits.
  • Depending on where you live, people measure real estate by square feet, square meters, gaz, Quila, Marla, Beegha, hectare or the acre.

Neighborhood Preferences

While many armchair analysts can claim to predict which kinds of neighborhoods are preferred by homeowners, recent surveys have shown that Americans prefer living in areas with a mix of homes and stores. In fact, the least popular type of neighborhood is the kind with only residential houses.

When the National Association of Realtors polled 1,500 property owning Americans in 2013, they discovered that most people preferred to live somewhere with a mix of houses and commercial establishments that are easy to walk to. Surprising some, Americans who responded said that they’re also willing to live in a smaller home in order to live in a place where they can walk to stores and shops. Over 78% of respondents clearly stated that the qualities of the neighborhood are more important than the size of their home. Over 55% of those surveyed reported that they’d give up a home with a big yard if they could live within walking distances to restaurants, shops and educational facilities.

Breakthroughs in Technology

With the internet rapidly approaching near-universal familiarity, it’s no surprise that powerful websites and apps are helping people to buy, sell and invest in real estate. But what you may not know is that one digital powerhouse in the American real estate market, online firm Zillow, just took a huge step forward.

Zillow has announced that its software now integrates with Google’s voice commands. Simply by talking to their phone or mobile device, prospective homeowners can ask the internet search giant to inform them which homes are for sale, when and where open houses are scheduled, and information on sale and rent prices. Google will then use Zillow to return the information to users in seconds, dramatically changing the real estate market.

Investing in Real Estate

While many people naturally think of real estate as being about securing that first family home, real estate can also be a great choice for investors. But beginner investors may find it bewildering to enter the market. Experts agree that the most important thing is to secure proper financing before attempting to flip or profit from real estate investments.

Also important is that homeowners and property buyers investigate local laws in effect, particularly regulations on mortgages and rent payments. Some jurisdictions may offer substantial reductions in mortgage payments to people who can prove that the home or space is occupied.

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Car Insurance Texas

Texas is one of the larger states located in the lower south central region of the United States. There are several geological regions: the Gulf Coastal Plains, the Interior Lowlands, the Great Plains, and the Basin and Range Province. Texas is also home to 10 climatic regions, 14 soil regions, and 11 ecological regions. By being such a diverse state, Texas is prone to drastic weather changes. During the winter months, for example, the Panhandle will have much colder winters than the Gulf Coast region. Also, the Panhandle and mountainous regions receive many snow storms. The summer months vary in temperature as well. The upper western part of the state will have an average temperature in the 80’s while the extreme southern areas will have an average temperature around 100 degrees.

In addition to the extreme climate differences, Texas is also prone to severe thunderstorms, with most of them producing deadly tornadoes. The northern and eastern parts of the state are located in part of Tornado Ally, which sees most of the tornadoes. The part of Tornado Ally that runs through Texas can produce on average 130 tornadoes during the months of April, May, and June.

Texas is also prone to destructive hurricanes. Some of the most destructive hurricanes occurred in Texas. For example, in 1875 a hurricane killed almost 400 civilians in the gulf coast town Indianola. A few years later, that same city was completely destroyed by another major hurricane. In 1900 Galveston was also completely leveled by a major hurricane, resulting in close to 12,000 deaths.

Throughout history, Texan drivers have had a rough time traveling across the state. The large state and rough terrain makes it difficult for certain vehicles to commute to various locations. The Texas Department of Transportation has improved the states highway system by building wider freeways, HOV lanes, and access lanes to help congested areas. There are at 79,000 miles of public highways that run through Texas. To help fund the upkeep of these highways, the Department of Transportation has set up at least 17 toll roads.

The Texas Department of Transportation is consistently finding new ways to improve freeway congestion, especially during rush hour. High occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes are just one way to improve traffic flow. The HOV lane allows large vehicles, such as vans or buses as well as vehicles containing 2 or more occupants to travels in a special lane. In addition to using the HOV lane, these vehicles have the option of using a special ramp, called the Texas-T. The Texas-T is usually located off the center lane on the freeway and allows drivers to exit directly to their destination.

Another improvement that has been built to help improve traffic flow is frontage roads, or more commonly called access roads. These roads run alongside the freeway in front of small businesses such as gas stations of pharmacies. In addition to the frontage roads, the Texas DOT (Department of Transportation) provides U-turns. These specially designed U-turns allows vehicles traveling on a frontage road the ability to make a U-turn into the frontage road going in the opposite direction without having to be stopped by traffic lights. The U-turns are typically accessed by an overpass that connects the two frontage roads.

Car insurance in Texas is highly recommended to all drivers to protect themselves, as well as their vehicles from damage sustained from constant driving on the treacherous road conditions, accidents sustained from heavy traffic flow, or damage sustained from the unpredictable weather. There are several laws and requirements a person should understand when purchasing car insurance in Texas. All drivers must carry liability car insurance in Texas. Liability insurance covers repairs and medical costs to the injured occupant in the other vehicle. It will not cover any damage or medical costs to the injured occupant who caused the accident. The minimum requirements for car insurance in Texas are: $30,000 for each person, $60,000 for damage or injury for each accident, and $25,000 for property damage. Some other options available for car insurance in Texas are collision damage and comprehensive damage. Companies that sell car insurance in Texas recommend purchasing collision and comprehensive damage. This coverage will pay for repairs or medical costs of the responsible party, while liability coverage will only cover the costs for the other vehicle or driver, leaving the responsible party with a large bill to cover their damages or injuries. Drivers purchasing car insurance in Texas can benefit from adding collision damage because it covers the cost of repairing or replacing a damaged vehicle. The owner will receive the actual amount of the cars worth after the deductible is met. Drivers purchasing car insurance in Texas are recommended to add comprehensive damage because it covers damages sustained by fires, vandalism, storm damage such as hail, or auto theft. Comprehensive coverage will also pay for a rental vehicle if the current vehicle is stolen. Companies that sell car insurance in Texas specify that the theft or damage needs to be reported to police before comprehensive damage will cover the cost.

Rates for car insurance in Texas are reasonable so all drivers can afford insurance. Companies that sell car insurance in Texas have incorporated a financial responsibility law that requires drivers to be able to pay for the liability coverage. If a driver is found without the mandatory insurance they will be fined up to $350. If they continue to violate this law, the fines are increased up to $1,000, possible license suspension, and could have their vehicle impounded. Companies that sell car insurance in Texas can set their own rates, but the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) can override those fees. They can make companies that sell car insurance in Texas give refunds to customers if they feel the rates are too high.

There are several factors that are determined prior to allowing a driver to receive car insurance in Texas such as age, driving record, and where an owner keeps their vehicle. Owners who primarily keep their vehicle in a city will generally have higher rates when looking for car insurance in Texas because they are more prone to theft or vandalism. A driver’s age and driving record also affect car insurance rates in Texas. Men under 25 and women under 21 will typically have higher rates for car insurance in Texas. Drivers over the age of 50 may be qualified for discounts when purchasing car insurance in Texas. Other discounts that could be applied to policies when purchasing car insurance in Texas are earning outstanding grades for high school students, taking specified diving courses, having extra safety features added to the vehicle, or purchasing a homeowners policy with the same company.